DOWNINGTON, PA-- The Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) is proud to announce the recipients of this year's Ataxian Athlete Initiative (AAI). The AAI is a unique program that provides adaptive cycling equipment to people with ataxia who have demonstrated a strong desire to stay healthy and fit despite their progressive disabilities.

Friedreich's ataxia (FA) is a rare disease that affects balance and coordination and has symptoms such as vision and hearing loss and often results in life shortening heart complications.

This year, the AAI was sponsored by UVA Sun Systems, The Melting Pot, Catrike, The FA Project, The Texas Irish Foundation and The Burrows Hill Foundation. The Burrows Hill Foundation generously provided over 70% of the funding for the 2017 AAI.

"The Burrows Hill Foundation is so proud to team with such a worthy and well established program such as the AAI. We are aware how important it is for those with ataxia to stay active and healthy and are honored to be able to help provide adaptive cycling equipment to these worthy applicants."

Joni Moore
Joni Moore shares her story HERE

AAI grants are administered through a competitive application process. Applicants research the most appropriate adaptive cycling equipment to suit their abilities and describe how such equipment would help them to reach their fitness goals and improve their quality of life.

"I am in love with riding my new handcycle, receiving it has honestly changed my life," said 2017 grant recipient Natchez Hansen. "I am building muscles and getting in shape for Orlando’s Ride Ataxia event November 12."

The AAI has provided equipment for 42 individuals since 2009. In 2017, the AAI funded 9 grants for adaptive cycling equipment to athletes from 7 states and 2 countries including:
Ashlea Smith of Aliquippa, PA,
Jacob Tompkins of Tivoli, NY,
Joni Moore of Superior, WI,
Justin Hernandez of Graham, TX,
Katie Hook of LaPorte, IN,
Kevin Henry of Jackson, MO,
Natchez Hanson of Palm Coast, Fl
and Savvas Nicolaou of Limasoll, Cypress

Visit for more information and to view more photos of past recipients. The next application cycle begins in Spring 2018.